Report – Atherton Collieries 5-1 Bacup Borough

A clinical first half display virtually guaranteed Michael Clegg’s team a passage to the quarter final of the NWCFL’s flagship knockout competition The MEN United Cup. Visitors Bacup Borough had suffered more than most with the rain sodden winter and had not staged a home game since the back end of October. This match was originally to have been played in East Lancashire in November but League rules state that the venue switches when there has been a couple of postponements hence Alder House hosted the tie. Colls took the lead on 10 minutes.  A raking Jamal Branker through ball found Jordan Cover in space just inside the box and his finish gave Peter Monteith between the Bacup sticks no chance.  Excellent vision from Branker. Ten minutes later Colls doubled the advantage. Debutant Vinny Bailey shot against the post and Cover was in the right place to tap in the rebound.  Cover was on fire and almost immediately he raced clear before unselfishly centring to Mark Battersby who tapped in.  Bacup had their first real opportunity just before the half hour mark after Colls over elaborated in defence but fortunately the attempt narrowly rolled wide.  On the stroke of half time it was 4-0.  A dangerous Mark Truffas free kick was headed in by Mark Ayres from point blank range.  An excellent forty five minutes performance by Michael Clegg’s player for which Bacup didn’t have much answer to. The second half was played at a much more pedestrian pace and the visitors saw more of the ball and had a few chances but Danny Taberner had them covered. Colls continued to carve out opportunities though. Branker hit a beaut of a shot from out wide.  Unfortunately it went a little too high and hit the new plastic cladding on the dressing room.  There is now a perfect ball mark in the fascia to commemorate the fizzer.  On 67 minutes Mark Battersby sprung the offside trap and stroked the ball past Monteith with the Borough defence static to register his 25th of the campaign. Borough got a late consolation from the penalty spot when Matty Grimsahw was adjudged to have handled in the box.  Matthew Barlow gave Taberner no chance but this wasn’t the end of the action. Truffas should have scored when clean through and Ben Hardcastle hit a post before the visitors got another spot kick. Kelvin Trippier stepped up this time but Taberner was equal to it and palmed the ball to safety. A quality performance against a full strength Bacup outfit who despite not playing for a few weeks certainly have aspirations to bounce straight back to the top flight. The win sets up a clash at Runcorn Town in the next round. Match Report by Emil Anderson

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